Publication Date



The world was plunged into mourning as the First World War continued relentlessly over four long years to create communities united in grief across the globe. From the East to the West and across all parts of the world, the war produced scales of collective and individual mourning unprecedented to that point in time. As the first truly global war, no nation was untouched. Wilfred Owen’s poem “Song of Songs” captures the poignancy of loss of those left to mourn the dead: “Sing me at midnight with your murmurous heart/ And let its moaning like a chord be heard/ Surging through you and sobbing unsubdued.”1 In an effort to understand these texts and others, this chapter examines the responses to mass death produced by the war and takes a transnational approach to explore the shifting patterns of mourning across cultures, nations, and societies. In so doing, it captures the genuinely global impact of the war across communities. It also considers how men and women mourned in ways that were similar and different.


Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

Document Type

Book Chapter

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.